Parts of this post where originally published on Sept 25, 2013. It has been entirely updated for your reading pleasure. Enjoy the tips!
Last week I opened the doors to my 20 Day Online Yoga Challenge. This flexible and fun challenge is perfect for keeping up a regular practice over the summer if you happen to be away or are simply looking for something outside of your regular studio class.
However, it takes a certain mindset to cultivate a solid home practice.
And sometimes trying to self-generate inspiration on the yoga mat becomes more of a chore than a joy. So in addition to sharing my challenge with you, here are some ideas to help you create a consistently, outstanding practice at home.
1. Make Space and Set the Mood
Before you begin your practice, make sure you have everything you need, your mat, your blocks and clothing appropriate for your environment and the temperature. At bare minimum, you need enough level, uncluttered surface area immediately surrounding your mat to move on.
In an ideal situation, you should set up the space to be beautiful, inspirational and alive.
The space and mood of your setting then becomes an extension of your practice and makes you feel joyful and ready to have the best practice possible.
Be rigid about being comfortable enough to let go on the mat.
This is so important!
One might think yoga in a forest at twilight is going to be blissful…and for the mosquitoes eating you alive, it just might be. Find a place to practice whether it’s indoors or outdoors that isn’t going to pull your focus off the mat for any reason.
Be flexible about where you practice if options are limited.
Before I became a full-time Yoga instructor and TCM Practitioner, I used to tour manage a band. Living on the road for weeks at a time meant that I sometimes had to practice yoga during a sound check on the concrete floor of whatever bar or club we were going to play in that night. It taught me to be flexible about my surroundings and stretch myself to entertain options beyond the obvious about where or when I practiced.
2. Defend Your Time
This is a big one and often the most challenging. If you live in a space with other people, make sure they know that while you are practicing, you are not to be interrupted.
Be flexible, because defending your time also means that you are being reasonable with it.
If you live other people (especially with young children), it may be best to wait until no one is home or things are quiet before you unroll your mat so your attention isn’t being pulled away from the practice.
If that isn’t possible, find a time in the early morning or later at night when everyone else is settled. If that still doesn’t work, do what you can with the time and space you have, but don’t give up on practicing just because the timing isn’t perfect.
Be rigid about unplugging completely for the full duration of your session.
Turn off anything that rings or buzzes. Any teacher worth their salt would be horrified if you answered a phone call during class. Show yourself and your home practice the same respect. Your emails, texts and voicemails will be there waiting for you… don’t you worry!
3. Get Involved With Your Practice
To really take your home practice to the next level, you need to be interested and involved in the process of learning more about Yoga. Get your hands on as much reading material and interactive resources as your time and wallet allow. Taking workshops and regular classes and even private one-on-one lessons are all great ways to fuel your budding home practice.
Be rigid about following what excites you the most.
If you find a style or a teacher you love, get as much information and time as you can with them. When I began yoga, I was very shy about approaching my favourite instructors and asking them questions or for help with my practice. In hindsight, I can see clearly how limiting that lack of direct involvement was.
As a teacher, I LOVE students who are passionate enough about their practice to regularly engage with me.
We are lucky enough to live in a world where you can take private classes in-person and online. There is almost nothing standing in the way of getting all the help and support you need to fill out your home practice, so get involved with your practice as much as you can.
Above all else, treat your home practice with the same respect and care you would if you were practicing yoga at your favourite studio with your own teacher and enjoy it!
What helps you to create a great home practice? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below